One of the most commonly asked questions that I get from listeners is, ‘How do I help my surviving children in their grief?’ and even more specifically, ‘How do I help my grieving teen?’ When I was contacted by Olivia’s dad a few weeks ago, I initially wondered if her story was one that would resonate with my listeners. As I continued reading, however, I realized how much Olivia had to offer. She is a grieving teen. She did not lose a sibling, but she lost her mom and best friend and knows grief in a way that few teens do. I knew that we had to talk more.
Early in Olivia’s grief journey, she says that she felt like everything in her life was out of control. All she wanted was to get a little bit of that control back. She did this in very unique ways. First of all, she blasted karaoke songs in her room singing at the top of her lungs. Secondly, she started dying her hair all sorts of colors. Now from the outside, Olivia admits that others probably thought that she was acting crazy and not at all dealing with her grief, but that was exactly how Olivia needed to grieve. Singing at the top of her lungs released emotion and dying her hair made her feel in control of something when her world seemed to be spinning.
The third thing that helped Olivia in her grief was writing poetry. She says that shortly after her mom died, she began suffering from horrible abdominal pain. After ruling out medical causes for her pain, Olivia was the one to realize that grief was the cause. She started noticing that as she wrote more and more, her belly pain subsided. It was then that Olivia really started thinking about how her experience might help other teens. She turned her poetry into a book that she self-published through Amazon which she titled, ‘Healing Our Wounded Hearts: A real-life story about loss in the voice of a teenager.’ She hopes that her words can help other teens know that they are not alone as they grieve. Olivia’s honesty is so amazing and inspiring. Thank you, Olivia, for your loving heart.